I should most definitely be sleeping. However, due to some poor sleep hygiene on my part, I am only now even slightly tired and fighting off some lingering urges. My urges (both self harm and ED) have been a lot higher this past week after a dietitian appointment where I got some rather shocking news.
I lost weight. Like, a lot of weight. My dietitian drilled me with questions as soon as I stepped off the scale: Am I using laxatives? Lying about what I’m eating? Over-exercising? Nope, none of the above, just freakish weight loss that would explain some of my obsessive, neurotic symptoms lately.
Naturally, the first thing I want to do is lose MORE weight. Actually, for the first few days after I got this news, that’s essentially what I did. Screw grad school applications, I’ve got to get to the gym! Laundry? Psh. It can wait. I’m going on a hike. Dinner? Uhhhhh…sugar free jell-o totally counts, right? Right.
And every time I think of eating “normally,” of getting back on track, my brain is bombarded with self-harm urges. Because if I eat like a normal human being I have to punish myself. Naturally.
So after I ate dinner tonight, I had a choice. I could re-live last Sunday night and get a few more stitches and have my team and parents freak out all over again. Or I could cope. Distract.
I chose the latter. I dyed my hair. Pink.
The best idea for someone who will need to present a professional appearance in two months for graduate school interviews? Eh. Maybe not. But probably more professional than another set of scars.
Best yet, it ate up almost two hours of free time after dinner, after which I felt relatively safe to go into my room, read my goodbye book (a coping skill suggested by a friend on our alumni facebook page — so helpful, reading all the things people wrote to me about how strong I was in recovery and listing all my good traits), and putzed around online a bit.
I even started an essay for graduate school. It’s not a great start, but it’s something and usually for me, the starting is the hardest part. One I get started, I can just keep going and then edit as needed. I organized all my applications today based on what needs to be done when and what is highest priority this week. (Tasks uno y dos: Get transcripts and GRE scores sent to all 6 schools.)
So even though things aren’t perfect at the moment — I’m still leaning on the side of restricting, maybe exercising a little too much, maybe allowing myself too much time to mull on the idea of losing “just a few” more pounds — I feel more like myself than I’ve been in a few days.
Such is the beauty of coping. Instead of sending myself down that self-perpetuating spiral all over again, I broke the cycle and did something different — something that I could, if not be proud of later, at least not be ashamed of. And that small act makes me feel a little more normal. Makes me feel like I’ve got a little more control over my mind, that I’m not letting the illness run away with it.
And since I didn’t go the self-harm route, I don’t have to walk into therapy tomorrow explaining why I’ve got more stitches.
No more stitches here. Just some pink hair.